New York Times bestselling author James Clear joins us on The Upgrade this week to help us form important new habits during this panic-stricken time—from grounding daily rituals to finally ditching the habits making us unsafe during the pandemic. James is the author of 2018’s Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones.
Highlights from this week’s episode
From the James Clear Interview
On the value of maintaining and forming habits during this pandemic:
When life is uncertain, your habits can ground you. When when you’re not sure what the future holds or what the next day is going to bring, you can return to the fundamentals. And I do think that in a lot of ways, when we feel like the world is uncontrollable, we need to return to what we can control. And you can control your habits… It gives you a sense of control over your life against sense of ownership that maybe you felt like was taken away a little bit by all this, whether it was things that you were asked to do to help the community out, social distancing, sheltering in place, etc…And so, yeah, in a lot of ways, I think habits can do more than just provide the result of what the habit itself is working toward. They can provide a little bit of psychological well-being or self-care.
On how to stop the unconscious, automatic habit of touching our face:
It’s not really that productive to say, “oh, just don’t do it,” or “you need to stop wanting to do that.” It’s just it’s kind of just a natural response. So one of the places that you can intervene is to increase the difficulty of the task. So, you know, you could imagine just to give like an extreme example, if you were like one of those like dog collars…you know, dogs have on the little cone after a surgery? It’d be very hard to touch your face. And the fact that you made it difficult would decrease the odds that you that you do it…The other place to intervene is to make it obvious…If you make it more obvious that you’re touching your face, then maybe you’re going to remember in the moment to not do it. So simply wearing some of those like surgical gloves is a good example, because if you have the gloves on one, you realise, “oh, I’m doing this for a reason, maybe I’ll keep my hands away.” But to even if you mindlessly touch your face, you realise it because the sensation is different than your hand. And so wearing gloves may be one potential opportunity to do that.
Check out the full episode to hear even more of James’ solutions for making or breaking some crucial habits during this unprecedented time.
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